Origin of the botanical name

The genus name "Hyphaene" comes from the Greek, hyphaenein, to weave, referring to the fibers of the fruit (Figs. 1-3)

Fig. 1. The mesocarp of Hyphaene fruits is extremely fibrous and the endosperm becomes ivory-hard when the fruit is ripe.

Fig. 2. The sweetish mesocarp of Hyphaene thebaica is often eaten by children in African countries (photo Loïc Michon).

Fig. 3. In the original description of the genus Hyphaene, Joseph Gaertner (De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum - 1788, table X) illustrated the fruit and the seed of Hyphaene coriacea, a species currently present in East Africa and Madagascar.